Airlines get a go-ahead from government to provide WiFi on flights
Currently, this service is available only for defence personnel. It is important to note in this case is that all devices using in-flight WiFi will have to be on airplane mode.
Airlines have finally been given a go-ahead to provide in-flight WiFi services to passengers following an official notification from the central government.
"The Pilot-in-Command may permit the access of Internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wi-Fi on board, when laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode," the official notification from the Aviation Ministry stated.
"Provided that the Director-General shall certify the aircraft for usage of internet service in flight through Wi-Fi on board subject to the procedures as specified in this behalf," the notification adds.
Currently, this service is available only for defence personnel.
However, what is important to note in this case is - all devices using in-flight WiFi will have to be on airplane mode.
Vistara's CEO Leslie Thng mentioned on Friday that their new Boeing 787-9 aircraft would be the first plane in India to provide this service. Vistara currently has an option where passengers can watch content from Vistara's in-flight channel. The airline provides limited WiFi connectivity on board that can be used to stream content from the channel on your smartphones, iPads etc.
The notification from the Aviation Ministry does not mention when this will come into affect.
According to reports, the Department of Telecommunications had recommended in 2018 that both internet and mobile communications services be permitted in the Indian airspace. Once provided, this facility is likely to help airlines collect more revenue.
Foreign airlines have been offering in-flight WiFi services on both national and international flights. However, it has to be switched off once the aircraft enters Indian airspace. Once the new rules come into force, this will no longer need to happen.